Saturday, June 24, 2006

Matthew Pearl and "The Poe Shadow"

Last evening I went out to Cambridge to an author event with Matthew Pearl, who has just released his second novel, The Poe Shadow. I absolutely devoured Pearl's first book, The Dante Club, so I'd been looking forward to the second one for quite a while, got a copy as soon as it came out and read it right away. I was quite pleased with the book, which blends actual archival research into the facts behind Poe's mysterious and much-discussed death with Pearl's considerable talent at constructing a suspenseful and thrilling narrative. The author has been praised as a real up-and-comer in the "literary thriller" field, and his second work will do nothing to diminish that praise, I suspect.

Pearl spoke last night at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, in the midst of a very Poe-esque downpour. He didn't read much from the book, but mainly discussed the process of writing historical fiction, how he came to choose the topic, etc. Even after a month of book-tour schtick he was clearly still interested in the book, and even managed to throw out a number of good laugh lines. There was quite a nice crowd in attendance, and many excellent questions (there wasn't even one of those people who usually appear at book events and make a complete nuisance of themselves by filibustering the author with a long, complicated and obnoxious question for which they refuse to accept any reasonable answer).

If you get a chance to hear Pearl speak, I'd definitely encourage you to go - he's doing events all around the country/world these days (I think he said he was flying somewhere in Europe today but I can't remember the exact place). His website contains all that info, and even includes some "secret chapters" that didn't make it into his books. He is certainly an author I recommend highly, and I will await his next book just as impatiently as I anticipated Poe Shadow.

No comments: